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Every time I get to watch that type of dorama, I sigh with easiness in my heart – that means I have not seen every Japanese romance movies worthy of watching yet.
"Golden Bowl" has become a great surprise to me. It was the first time I have watched the sports dorama (maybe not that sportish but still), and that is strange, for I am a great fan of spocons (anime about sports). Also it was the first thing I have seen with Takeshi Kaneshiro. And surely I could not expect, that this dorama would be dedicated to my favorite subject (yes, I do not read synopses often before watch). And another thing is that the scriptwriter was Nojima Shinji, which explains a lot – I like all of his doramas I could see (Kimi ga Uso wo Tsuita, Suteki na Kataomoi, Kou Kou Kyoushi, Strawberry on the Shortcake, Pride, Love Shuffle).
And now, as usual, a little bit about the plot and the characters including my impressions.
Sakura Hitomi – is a regular Japanese housewife. She has been living with her husband for ten years. That man is a wonderful person and belongs to elite of the society. In the daytime she is at home and in the evening she meets her husband from work. What a slight and easygoing life. It is just that recently her husband comes home later everyday, and Hitomi feels lonely more and more, though she tries not to show it to anybody. The only thing that brings her joy and let her relax a bit – is bowling she has been playing since childhood. So at one of the bowling clubs named "Golden Bawl" Hitomi meets a young and handsome Akutagawa Shu.
Akutagawa Shu – is working at the stock market and in the evenings plays bowling in the "Golden Bowl" club, after that he watches the stars in solitude at the planetarium palace. No family no friends, no particular dreams of targets in life, only the memory of the log gone love. The closet number 13 means a lot to him and that is why he struggles his right to take it, even if he has to fight with the beautiful woman.
That is how they destined to meet. Though their first meeting was tough, Hitomi and Akutagawa got friends fast being in love with bowling. And the danger of the club to be closed make the couple even closer.
"Golden Bowl" club has long and bright story. But times of popularity had gone, and the manager wants to retire. But neither employees nor clients want to leave the place. Yakuza have the other plans for the club though – love hotels give more income. But yakuza have dignity too and thus they offer the manager a deal: there shall be no sales if the clients win the game. Hitomi and Akutagawa shall be challenging villains for the sake of the club. Together they would deal with a huge number of strong opponents, and this game shall make their friendship stronger, bring love and help other people in the club to realize their feelings.
Thos who were just like me watching vast number of Japanese doramas know that we love them not for the plot but more for the characters. This dorama is not the exclusion: touching granny-manager, funny instructor Chiaki-san, energetic and eager Akira with her partner Silent Gori, mysterious bartender Kuroda, sweet and persistent Midori. And surely my favorites – funny made and indeed comic yakuza. BTW, almost forgotten absolutely adorable Sakura-san. With all those characters there is a plentitude of comic and absurd situations, but anyways those absurds is not "paperlike" and sound real. In addition to everything, there were a lot of very beautiful and very funny scenes (I was laughing at Chekan in the train to tears).
What I loved the most in the dorama were the relations between two main characters. Oh, how said am I that my knowledge of Japanese is so small that I can barely feel the beauty of the dialogues and jokes. But what I understood was enough to get maximum of the joy of watching that thing. (and what a pity that the Russian subtitles are absolutely far away form the original text. I wonder how this are going with the English subtitles). anyways, it was sad to watch the final episode – I wanted more.
There is a separate though for the music. That one awesome OST is not often to hear in doramas. I still hear the wonderful song by Paul Anka "You Are My Destiny" in my head.
11 Episodes: Ep 01: April 20, 2002 - You Are My Destiny
[2002年4月20日 – あなたは僕の運命] Ep 02: April 27, 2002 - The Secret of the Bye-Bye Split... Break Up With Your Lover If You Make It
[2002年4月27日 – バイバイスプリットの秘密…それを取ると恋人は別れる] Ep 03: May 5, 2002 - The Lone 5th Pin... How Long Can a Girl Bear It?
[2002年5月4日 – ひとりぼっちの5番ピン…女はいつまで我慢するの?] Ep 04: May 11, 2002 - Our Love's Rapid Development! A Sudden Sweet Kiss... Tears of Twin Boys
[2002年5月11日 – 2人の恋が急展開!ついに甘いキス…双子少年の涙] Ep 05: May 18, 2002 - Co-Ed Hot Spring Bowling!! If I Lose I Go Naked!? I'm In Trouble!
[2002年5月18日 – 混浴温泉ボウリング!!負けたら、全裸!?僕パンダ] Ep 06: May 25, 2002 - Flaming Southpaw! My Lover's Mad at Me!!
[2002年5月25日 – 炎のサウスポー!僕、愛人に切られちゃった!!] Ep 07: June 1, 2002 - Akutagawa VS Dazai! Only The Cockroaches Know Who Will Win At Love!!
[2002年6月1日 – 芥川VS太宰!恋の勝者はゴキブリだけが知っている!!] Ep 08: June 8, 2002 - Frozen By the Ghost of a Lover! Trap of the Magical Kiss!!
[2002年6月8日 – 幽霊の恋人に金縛り!魔法のキスの罠!!] Ep 09: June 22, 2002 - Showdown With a Super Popular Idol! Live Broadcast Captures Amazing Achievement!!
[2002年6月22日 – 超アイドルと対決!生放送中に大記録達成!!] Ep 10: June 29, 2002 - The Arrival of the Real World Champ! Skill & Skill, Love & Love, Tears & Tears!!
[2002年6月29日 – 本物世界チャンプ登場!技と技、愛と愛、涙と涙!!] Ep 11: July 6, 2002 - Final Special of Love and Fate! Make the Miraculous Split 'Snake Eyes!!'
[2002年7月6日 – 愛と運命の最終回スペシャル!奇跡のスプリット〝へびの瞳〟を取れ!!]